Overall county budget decreases by 2.6%
Maricopa County supervisors are cutting the tax rate again as part of the tentative FY 2024 budget they unanimously approved today.
A year after passing the largest tax rate cut in Maricopa County history, the Board of Supervisors is cutting the county’s primary tax rate for a third straight year, lowering the rate from 1.25 (or $125 on a $100,000 home) to 1.2 (or $120 on a 100,000 home). While rising property values are outside the Board’s control, state statute does give supervisors the ability to set the property tax rate.
The Board is cutting the overall county budget by 2.6% from fiscal year 2023. In fact, while some other counties are taxing as much as they are allowed under state law, Maricopa County’s tax levy is $232.8 million below the maximum.
“In some ways, we are back to business as usual. This budget is lean and focused on providing exceptional value to the taxpayer,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “While we are careful about following our mandates, this Board realizes there are urgent needs in our community and so we have focused on spending where it will truly make a difference: providing housing, providing job opportunities, and protecting public safety.”
The $4.35 billion budget includes $494 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which Congress allocated to the nation’s fastest-growing county to help our community recover from the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, ARPA funding has gone to fund affordable housing projects, address increased homelessness in the region, strengthen public health infrastructure, and provide support to job creators and job seekers in a changing economy. You can see a full accounting of spending at Maricopa.gov/RescueFunds, and a full list of assistance programs at Maricopa.gov/Rescue.
“Great regions like ours don’t happen by accident. They require long-term planning and investment, collaboration among government and non-government entities, and a willingness to see beyond current problems so that future leaders are not hamstrung by our obsession with the latest shiny object,” said Vice Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1. “By investing wisely in people, in infrastructure, and in paying down pension debt, we will be able to meet not only today’s needs but tomorrow’s challenges.”
As in years past, a significant portion (50%) of the county budget is allocated to public safety with the County Attorney’s Office adding 21 positions and the Sheriff’s Office adding 46 for security officers who will do additional screenings in jail for drugs, including fentanyl.
“Government’s core job is protecting public safety, and right now, we have a community crisis when it comes to fentanyl,” said Supervisor Thomas Galvin, District 2. “I appreciate the commitment of Chairman Hickman, Sheriff Penzone, and County Attorney Mitchell in prioritizing prosecutions of the people bringing this drug into our community, and in education so that families know that just one pill can be deadly. And I’m pleased this budget can offer tax relief in addition to safer neighborhoods.”
Long-term infrastructure projects—often referred to as capital expenditures—are a cornerstone of any county budget, and in FY 2024, those projects include multi-million dollars investments in regional parks, a new downtown office building to get the Public Health and Human Services Departments out of leased space, and a new animal shelter in the East Valley.
“Budgeting isn’t easy, but our team does a great job aligning spending with our priorities,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “And because we run efficient programs at Maricopa County, we can give residents a tax break while also funding services and programs that meet current needs and improve quality of life for future generations.”
2024 will see three major elections (the March Presidential Preference Election, the August Primary Election, and the November General Election). One key capital project is the renovation of the main elections operations building, MCTEC. The budget also includes $10.1 million to fund the Presidential Preference Election and prepare for the Primary and General Elections, plus an additional $9 million in contingency to replace certain ballot-on-demand printers that serve Voting Centers.
“Democracy is worth every penny,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “We are providing the financial resources necessary to support our elections staff so that they can continue to administer secure, fair, and accurate elections.”
This marks the second consecutive year that the County will pay down unfunded pension liabilities. In FY 2024, the Board is directing $190 million into the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan (CORP) that provides retiring government employees in the law enforcement sector with the pension money they’ve earned. Paying down debt now means a smaller percentage of future budgets will be needed to pay for these pensions.
A vote on the final budget will take place on June 26. You can view today’s tentative budget presentation here or view budget documents anytime at Maricopa.gov/budget.